Do your kids come home talking about how boring school is? Are you worried that most of what they’re learning is either rote memorization or standardized test material? You’re not alone, and unfortunately, your fears may not be entirely unwarranted.
My oldest daughter Kelsey started marching band this year, and she has loved every minute of it—well, almost. If you’re a band parent or if you were in the band yourself, then you know that the typical season starts out with summer band camp—a grueling two-week process in which you attempt to learn the entire show for the season, under the blistering sun no less.
Katie brought home a decodable book from Kindergarten yesterday, and she read the whole entire thing by herself. I was ecstatic! Yes, most of the words were the same, and some of the “words” were actually pictures, but do not think for a moment that this small detail stifled any of my excitement or the pride I felt welling up inside me! I was beaming, and more importantly, so was she!
Any child development expert will tell you that a child’s well-being and his or her capacity for learning are intrinsically linked. From the earliest of ages, children require a basic sense of comfort and security in order for their developing brains to be receptive to other stimuli. Most parents and educators realize this, but what many fail to acknowledge is that this prerequisite for learning continues into childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood! Enter social and emotional learning, a model advocates affectionately refer to as SEL.
Look at the title of this post again. I bet you don’t hear that question often. Most people assume that gifted children do so well in school that there’s really no reason to even ask. While it’s true that academics pose little trouble for those kids identified as “gifted,” that doesn’t mean that school as a whole is a breeze for them.
We all know that the biggest readers are often the biggest achievers, so a daily regimen of reading is a must. Many parents wonder how much their children should be reading outside of school, however. While there’s no definitive answer to that question, there are some guidelines you can follow to ensure that your child is getting her daily dose of literature.
Busy parents often need a helping hand when it comes to supporting their kids during the school year. But then again, I’ve yet to see a parent who isn’t busy! If you’re among the many frazzled moms or dads trying to juggle work, kids, social events, school events, extracurricular, and the like, then there’s a good chance you could use some tips to keep it all organized.
As a mom of four, I know one thing for certain—no two children are the same (or even similar) despite their genetic codes. I’m sure many of you can relate. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a parent sigh in exasperation at her second or third child’s behavior or mannerisms, shaking her head and saying, “Boy, I wasn’t prepared for this.” Well, just as children behave differently, they also learn differently too!
We have a school-year tradition at our house. Every night at the dinner table, we go around the table and have each child tell about the best and worst parts of their day. Occasionally, someone will have had a particularly bad day and won’t want to discuss it, and of course, we don’t push it, but most of the time, we get the usual complaints—bad food in the cafeteria, an anxiety-producing class presentation, or an overly strict teacher. Most of the time, it makes for good dinner conversation, and we all end up laughing it off. Every now and then, though, I’ll hear something that raises my eyebrows in curiosity or makes me grimace with concern.
When I taught fifth grade it felt like there were never enough books in our class library. What started out as one half-filled bookshelf eventually became two that were overflowing. I ordered every book I could afford and brought books from home once my daughters were finished with them. From Harry Potter (for the very brave) to Captain Underpants to Charlotte’s Web, one thing my students could count on was variety. There was no excuse for not finding a book worth their reading time.